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Links for Researching Prints

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Finding an excellent print at a good price,

and researching the print is a milestone.

     It is somewhat necessary to determine just how good the print or the price really are. There are no comprehensive "how to" manuals on print research, and we would not profess to the knowledge necessary to compile a survey of research techniques in the print field. However, we have identified a number of resources over the years which have made research easier and a lot more enjoyable. Perhaps you will find them useful.

1. Identify Research Materials:  

    The first step in research is to determine whether anything has been written on the artist or the print at issue. Identifying the existence of resources, and choosing the right ones, can sometimes be arduous. To shortcut the process, we have tried to keep a running bibliography of all of the catalogues raissone that we have used or have come across.

    The product is the attached list, which contains descriptions, publishing data and Library of Congress call numbers for about 1500 relatively obtainable, single-artist raisonnes.

    You can download the bibliography [Revision 32, 7/10/2001, 248 pages, 466kb] in zipped (155kb) microsoft works for windows format (*.wps). 

    You may also request MAC-compatible or other formats by email. NOTE: the list only deals with single-artist raisonnes and, with few exceptions, does not include compilations such as Hollstein, The Illustrated Bartsch, Delteil and others (which sometimes are the only resources on an artist).

    An expansive resource that includes articles, monographs and other works extending beyond catalogues raisonne is The Print Council Index to Ouevre-Catalogues of Prints by European and American Artists by Timothy Riggs [ISBN: 0527753467; LOC Call Number:  Z5947.A3 R53 1983].  The supplement to the Riggs catalogue is searchable online at the Print Council of America site.

    To search for catalogues raisonne directly, go to the The Library of Congress Online Catalog  

2. Obtain the Resources: 

    Once you have identified the resource that you need, contact your local library with call numbers and descriptions. Most library staffs are extremely helpful in finding volumes or in directing the search.

    If you'd rather purchase the catalogue raisonne, you're likely to find it on the web. The best search tool is probably BookFinder.com. Bookfinder.com polls all of the major book search engines and provides results in a single listing.

    If BookFinder.com is down, or you'd like to double check its results, you can poll the book search engines separately: Bibliofind and ABE Book Search tend to be useful.  

3. Consider the Value: 

    To analyze value in light of past auction prices, you might try a free online search of auction data at icollector.  Their database is extensive and their format is easy to use.  Subscription databases, such as Gordon's provide more complete online searches of auction data for a fee.  For offline searches, you might want to purchase Gordon's Print Price Annual, available at the Gordon's website, or find Gordon's in your local library. To analyze value in light of retail prices, you might purchase (also available on the Gordon's website) Lawrence's Dealer Print Prices, or find the volume in your local library.

4. Discuss It:  

    One of the ways to resolve research questions is to raise them in a group setting, with individuals who may have already resolved or at least faced the issues.

    An open forum for posting questions on prints (and "wants") is available at PrintForum.com - a site that also includes news articles and research tools relative to prints.  A similar forum has been provided by Jeff Measamer of ArtConnections and HoustonArts on his Print Discussion page. 

    Finally, you might think about joining Prints-L, Steven Goddard's discussion group based at the University of Kansas.

    The group is diverse, with a broad focus beyond collecting, with a membership that includes artists, conservators, scholars, and curators as well as collectors.  Information on joining Prints-L is available at the Spencer Museum of Art Printroom Home Page.

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